What role does writing play in politics? Do we care about intellectuals penning long form essays about the future of the state or about official policy documents setting out frames and ideas for how to approach political issues? Historically the answer has been a very clear 'yes!'. The role writing played in the shaping of… Continue reading Writing politics – ideology and propaganda
6 hours by car
Time to travel back to the city, sort out of a few things and then back to London. The trip back to Stockholm is 6 hours by car. I used to dread that, but have come to quite like the opportunity to think, listen to music and audiobooks as well as watch the landscape change… Continue reading 6 hours by car
Summing up 2022
2022 was a reasonably eventful year, for me personally (the year globally is not the subject of this post). I took on a new job, at DeepMind, as global policy director. I also moved to London and now share my time between London and Stockholm, exploring what it feels like to live in two cities… Continue reading Summing up 2022
The sun is setting over Camden. A new work week is coming up, and we are not sure who we are - or who we will be. Most of us are becoming. I met a man in the street today, walking down to buy some groceries, who walked slowly, elegantly dressed and speaking to a… Continue reading Evening thoughts
Geopolitical races in technology 2.0
Looking back, it is fairly easy to see that the race to the moon was a geopolitical competition, an attempt to use a technological task as a proxy for answering the question of which political system was the most robust, innovative and effective. But was we enter an age of new geopolitical races, it seems… Continue reading Geopolitical races in technology 2.0
Measures and causes of centralization of the Internet
Here is a narrative about the Internet that is getting more and more common: It certainly seems that the Internet is now the realm of a small number of enterprises that dominate this space. This is no longer a diverse, vibrant environment where new entrants compete on equal terms with incumbents, where the pace of… Continue reading Measures and causes of centralization of the Internet
Intolerance and polarization as survival strategies
A recent study in PNAS suggests that we can at least start thinking about that through inversion - the study of what intolerance is. By looking at the areas of the brain that activate during polarized responses etc a group of researchers are now arguing that intolerance is strongly correlated with a need for certainty.… Continue reading Intolerance and polarization as survival strategies
The grammar of happiness: a turn towards everyday life?
A culture is guided by its concept of happiness, and how that is located in the overall grammar of human existence - and our society is one that is focused on living a happy life. A result of that is that we often ask ourselves if we are happy - whether consciously or not. We… Continue reading The grammar of happiness: a turn towards everyday life?
What is the optimal degree of separation in a society?
Almost everyone has heard about the notion of "six degrees of separation" - that there are six jumps between any two persons in, say, the US. The experiment or game actually originates in a short story by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy, The Chain, where the object of the game was to connect two random individuals.… Continue reading What is the optimal degree of separation in a society?
Deterrence and memory – is it dangerous to forget nuclear weapons?
Economist Thomas Schelling made an important observation in his Nobel prize talk in 2005 when he said: "The most spectacular event of the past half century is one that did not occur.We have enjoyed sixty years without nuclear weapons exploded in anger."Thomas Schelling Nobel Prize Talk. This observation is no less true today, but we… Continue reading Deterrence and memory – is it dangerous to forget nuclear weapons?